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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  May 5, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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last stand in a key ukrainian city. "the lead" starts right now. russian troops have broken into part of the mariupol steel plant. but will the remaining innocent ukrainians trapped inside actually be given a chance to get out alive? then, how this little pill could be the next target for the anti-abortion movement when and if roe v. wade fails. plus, tragic new figures about just how many people died from
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covid around the world. turns out the suspected death toll is higher than reported. much higher. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we start with breaking news in our money lead. a huge selloff on wall street today. the dow just closing down 1,059 points. the nasdaq and s&p also taking huge hits. the losses coming one day after big gains. let's get to cnn's richard quest, the host of "quest means business." richard, what is behind the massive selloff? >> reality check, jake. the reality that the fed is going to have to raise rates, and maybe harder and faster than anybody thought, and that is going to slow the economy. now, many economists who said duh, we knew that was coming, why all the shock? the reason is because there had been a hope, a prayer, whatever, that they were going to get this soft landing. it's looking less likely now.
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and that means inflation will be -- remain high for the foreseeable future. we may see an uptick in unemployment over the longer term and we may see a recession into next year. that reality has finally dawned on the market. >> richard, should we continue to expect stocks to stay in this roller coaster pattern for the immediate future? >> absolutely. take that to the bank. when the market is looking for a bottom, it's waiting for that moment when things become so cheap, you even buy them to make soup. the market is simply now -- they've not panicked. it is turmoil, trying to determine what the future direction of economic activity is. how far will jay powell have to go? h how high will interest rates go and how quickly? you, me, everyone, 401(k)s
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tonight, you're starting to think, what do i have to do? if you don't have to do anything, don't. this will play itself out. and the last thing you want is looking down the freight train of the market heading towards you. >> richard quest, thank you. turning to our world lead now, and a russian breach at the mariupol steel plant where ukrainian fighters are making their last stand, according to a ukrainian commander on the ground, who says "fierce, bloody combat is ongoing." the ukrainians are accusing russian forces of violating a truce today, which would have allowed more civilians to escape the steel plant. the united nations says another evacuation convoy is on it base to the plant right now and scheduled to arrive by tomorrow morning in hopes ukrainians will be able to get out alive. north of mariupol, at least 25 people were injured after a series of russian missile strikes overnight. cnn's sam kylie toured the damage earlier today. >> reporter: they have had
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clearly a devastating impact. this is a heating -- a pumping station, sewage area. the sides of the building could indicate it was in no way could have housed any military equipment. but the scenes here are absolutely extraordinary. the way that these trees have been treatly decapitated, torn to shreds. and the same goes also for these homes. >> also today, a heartbreaking reminder of the cost of this war on innocent ukrainian civilians. a 15-year-old volunteer has been killed at a zoo in the town of kharkiv, while helping his parents evacuate animals from incoming russian fire. zoo officials say this is the sixth member of their team killed since russia's invasion began. we start off coverage today from lviv in western ukraine with a loser look at the desperate efforts to help save more civilians from the besieged plant in mariupol. ♪ ♪
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>> reporter: ukrainian soldiers trapped in the azovstal plant sing the song "it is sweet to die in battle than to live in dumb chains" they sing in the darkness. a few of the dozens of ukrainian fighters defending the last patch of mariupol not in russian hands. above them, the bombardment continues. relentlessly. later, one of the commanders with a message for the world. it's been the third day that the enemy has broken through the territory of azovstal. bloody combat is ongoing, he says. accusing the russians of violating the promise of a truce and preventing the evacuation of civilians who continue to hide deep in bunkers at azovstal. the u.n. and red cross organized the evacuation of one group of about 100 civilians at the weekend. sense then, none have left.
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now there is hope of another convoy reaching mare moll. >> as we speak, a convoy is proceeding to get to azovstal by tomorrow morning. hopefully, to receive those civilians remaining in that break hell that they have inhabited for so many weeks and months. and taken back to safety. >> reporter: speaking to me earlier, the military governor was much more cautious. >> i would like to be frank that with all due respect for the u.n. and their assistance and the international committee of the red cross, the conditions that are such that the occupier keeps changing them and the russian federation does everything sometimes in a way that these -- the agreements keep changing.
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so i would rather speak of results of the second stage in evacuation. >> reporter: the russians are showing off their newly won territory, or at least the ruins they fought to seize. this commander points to a massive crater outside the azovstal plant. he said the bodies of ukrainian somes are everywhere. amids the ruins of mariupol, once a thriving city of 400,000, the new authorities are changing the road signs into russian. the ukrainian officials suspect they will organize a parade on may 9, when russia celebrates its victory in the second world war. whether the azovstal plant is quiet and empty by then or still being pulverized, no one knows. what's certain are the scars
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that will remain. and jake, what is clear as you look at those images is that it's a brutal and a bloody fight there for mariupol. and it is ongoing. it's worth reminding viewers that this is not a video game. this is not a movie. this is real life. and there are people inside. more than some 200 people, 200 civilians. some 30 children who haven't seen sunlight for some 60 days or so. so hopefully, through the u.n. and the red cross, that evacuation can take place early tomorrow. of course, we have been here before. and the russians have broken their promises. but they are hope thing will be the day that they can leave the u.n. envoy calling it a hellhole. >> isa suarez, reporting live for us from ukraine. today, the white house is pushing back on a "new york times" report that claimed u.s. intelligence is providing
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information about the whereabouts of russian generals, giving that information to ukrainian forces so those generals can be killed. cnn's kaitlan collins joins us live from the white house. what exactly are biden administration officials saying? are they making an outright denial? >> reporter: they are denying it but they are stating what we know and what we have reported here at cnn, which is that, yes, the u.s. is providing ukraine with intelligence to help them on the battlefield. that they are adding a very important caveat after this story was published saying we do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill russian generals. of course, saying with the intent there to kill russian generals is a lot of leeway for this white house who is saying they are not providing specific intelligence to these ukrainian forces to help them assassinate russian generals, which we have seen several of the russian generals killed since this invasion began. this is something that the pentagon has asked about today during their briefing. here's what the pentagon spokesperson said. >> we do nod provide intelligence on the location of
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senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the ukrainian military. ukraine combines information that we and others provide with the intelligence that they themselves are gathering. >> reporter: so jake, basically their argument is yes, we provide ukrainians with intelligence. they have their own intelligence operation. and what they do with that when they put two and two together is up to the ukrainians. we should note this comes as a top russian officer visited the frontlines in this invasion in ukraine. so that's what makes this so important. >> it doesn't seem like a denial, telling them where the russian general is. but they can do whatever they want with their information. what do they think they're going to do. u.s. officials announced another crackdown on russian elites, friendly to putin to the tune of $300 million. >> reporter: yeah, this is a yacht that was seized by authorities in fiji, at the request of the justice department.
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young see the yacht here. it's $300 million, 348 feet long. the white house says they did this at the request of the justice department, got the authority there is in fiji involved, because it is owned by a russian oligarch who made his fortune from gold. the u.s. says on this affidavit when they seized this vote, he was placed on a u.s. sanctions list, he evaded and broke those sanctions by using the u.s. banking system for the expenses that came with this yacht. they have since seized it, and the deputy attorney general says it should tell every russian oligarch they cannot hide, not even in the most remote part of the world. >> just a few minutes ago, the white house announced who is going to replace jen psaki when she leaves next week. tell us more. >> reporter: this is significant. jen psaki has been expected to leave for several weeks now. she will leave on may 13th. the principal deputy press
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secretary karine jean-pierre will replace her. it's notable, because she will be the first black person to hold this title as the chief spokesperson for the white house. also, the first openly lbgtq person to hold this role. she will ten into that role in the next couping weeks. people will be familiar with her. she's taken over for psaki several time before, often in the room when psaki is taking questions. and she filled in on joe biden's trip to europe when psaki tested positive for covid-19. so she will be the new face of the administration. of course, we reported psaki is expected to leave for sable news. jake. >> kaitlan collins at the white house, thank you. joining us now to discuss, senator chris coons of delaware. let's start with the white house pushback today on that "new york times" story. the u.s. wants ukraine to win this war. why would it not be part of the u.s. strategy to openly help
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ukraine defeat the russian forces that invaded them and are committing these crimes against humanitarian by killing russian generals? why is that something that we would hide? >> i'm not really sure what the motivation is behind that parsing of our intelligence partnership with ukraine, jake. but i support strongly joe biden's leadership in sending more and more sophisticated and heavier weapons to support ukraine's defense against vladamir putin's unjustified invasion. there is an additional request in front of congress right now that i hope we will take up and pass next week to provide billions more in funding. both military assistance and humanitarian assistance. as you know, jake, ukraine is often called the breadbasket of eastern europe. it is one of the world's largest producers of wheat and sunflower oil. we need to be providing support. not just for the brave and
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patriotic fighters depending ukraine, but for the tens of millions of ukraine that will be hungry inside the country and those displaced and living in other countries around the region. i think joe biden has provide strong support and so has the rest of the west, whether it's intelligence or weapons or material, and i think that's an important part of the west coming together behind ukraine. >> so the president of ukraine, volodymyr zelenskyy, spoke with the british prime minister boris johnson today. the uk says that zelenskyy asked for "longer range weaponry to prevent the bombardment of civilians." could the u.s. be giving ukraine even more? and is this aid that is sitting in congress right now waiting for congress to act, these longer range weapons? >> well, to be clear, congress takes up and passes legislation authorizing and appropriating money. and then the president authorizes the department of defense to transfer and deliver weapons or other support to
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ukraine. right now, the department of defense is delivering weapons that we funded and the president approved weeks ago. for example, 155 millimeter howitzers. far more longer range artillery than we had provide. a new class of drone, so-called ghost drones, as well as switchblades. drones that can carry a larger payload and go farther. there's other systems that we can, and i think should deliver. and some of our key partners in nato, our eastern european partners, are also providing heavy weaponry, multiple launch systems, longer range artillery, the stingers and javelins. both surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles that have been use sod effectively by ukrainian defenders over the last six weeks, as well as anti-ship missiles that ukrainians have used
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successfully to sink russian ships in the black sea. >> i want to switch topics and ask you about abortion rights in this country, in the wake of this draft opinion, showing the supreme court appears poised to strike down roe v. wade. joe biden is calling on congress to act and pass laws protecting a woman's right to an abortion. it appears the democrats in the senate simply don't have the votes to pass this bill. i'm not even sure you have 50 votes, much less 60. so realistically speaking, is there anything congress can do? >> we are going to have a vote on the floor of the senate next week so the american people can be clear on which party stands where on this core and defining issue. this is the first time in my adult life that the rights of americans, the rights of tens of millions of american women, to make choices about their own reproductive health care will be rolled back. the right to an abortion, which 50 years ago, the supreme court put into our law through roe v. wade, even though it's been
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modified over many years, it has stood as one of the pillars of our understanding of that balance between privacy, making one's own decisions in reproduction, and the role of the federal government. so frankly, we need a bigger pro choice majority in the senate for us to be able to have an impact on extending federal protections, and that's going to be one of the issues i expect we'll be talking about over the weeks and months to come here in the senate. >> quickly, if you could, some of your colleagues have said that justice kavanaugh and justice gorsuch were not honest about their opinions when it came to roe v. wade as a precedent. do you agree? do you think they lied to congress? >> i would say that several of the justices who i questioned and interviewed during the confirmation process gave the strong impression that they would respect precedent, that they would not overturn a long-established,
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well-respected, broadly well-regarded precedent like roe v. wade without some surprise or change or cause. so i certainly feel that they were not being fully forthcoming in suggesting that they would suspect starry desicis. i voted against both of them because i found it hard to believe that, given the opportunity, they would not reverse roe v. wade based on things that they had said and written. my strong hunch was that even though this is one of the pillars of modern constitutional law in the united states that, given the opportunity, they likely would vote. and although this is a leaked preliminary draft, i urge everyone watching to read it. the language is bracing and clear. and there are other long-established rights, like the right to access contraception, like the right to same-sex marriage, which might also now be up for reversal by
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this activist, conservative majority. >> democratic senator chris cons of delaware, thank you for your time today. chief justice john roberts speaking publicly for the first time since that leak of the supreme court draft opinion, indicating roe v. wade is on the precipice of being overturned. what the chief is saying, what he's not saying about the bombshell leak. that's next. stressed, dry and sandpaper. luckily, there's biotrue e hydration boost eye drops s for instant moisture. biotrue uses naturally inspired ingredients. and no preseservatives. try biotrue
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chief justice roberts just spoke and confirmed that the leaked draft opinion is authentic and called for an investigation by the marshal of the supreme court. but i understand he said a whole lot more just now. >> reporter: right. these are his first comments in public, and he called that leak absolutely appalling. he said it would be foolish for people to think that it's really going to affect how the court does its job. he really praised the supreme court's workforce, and he said he hoped that one bad apple wouldn't change the public's perception of the court. but whatever he says, that leak is absolutely stunning. and the breadth of the opinion, even though it's a draft opinion, put forward by alito is really broad, calling roe v. wade egregiously wrong, saying that this issue needs to go back to the states. that's really bad news for supporters of abortion rights, who point out that nearly half the states have laws on the
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books that either restrict or abolish abortion all together. the fallout, as we have seen since the leak came out, has been very broad on both sides. even some demonstrations. but you have some people -- alito, in that opinion, he tries to wall it in and say this is just about abortion. but a lot of the legal reasoning that was used in roe, jake, was also used in other cases, particularly in that same-sex marriage case. so their fear, supporters of abortion rights is that this court, this conservative court, has just gotten started. and lastly, all of this comes really at the court's busy season, because they're not having oral arguments any more. but they are working behind the scenes not only to finish this abortion case, but there's a big second amendment case, religious liberty cases, environmental cases. those are all pending. they tank frank conversations between the justices. after this leak, young see how
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justices would be nervous, that their closed door deliberations are going to leak out and make it on the front pages. >> arian, thank you. thousands don't go to a clin toik get an abortion, they take pills. would that be at risk? we'll take a closer look, next. see him? he's not checkin' the stats. he's finding some investment ideas with merrill. eyes on the ball baby. digital tools so impressive, you just can't stop. what would you like the power to do?
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cli itics lead, with the supreme court seemingly to strike down roe v. wade, analysts say the next frontier in this struggle will be the availability of abortion pills by mail. more than 54% of all abortions in the united states were induced by pills in 2020. that's according to a research organization that supports abortion rights. as cnn's tom foreman reports, suppliers of these medications say they intend to continue sending them to the u.s. no matter what state laws say. >> reporter: for those intent on ending abortions in parts of the united states, the biggest barrier may not be politics but pills, which researchers say are effective, available, and now used for more than half of all abortions. >> abortion activists have been quietly building a whole new business model to target young women on their phones.
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to click -- get information and receive abortion drugs by mail. >> reporter: the food and drug administration approved mail order supplies of the so-called abortion pills with a prescription this past december for women in the first ten weeks of pregnancy. advocates insist it's less invasive, more discrete, and just as safe as surgical abortion. >> often times people choose this for various reasons. they want to be able to manage their abortion with their family, you know, with them. >> we have seen an incredible increase of requests for help. people are being really scared of what's going to happen. >> reporter: that's why some abortion rights supporters, such as women on waves based in the netherlands, say they're already facilitating shipments of the drugs for women in far flung corners of the u.s. and promising to step up the efforts no matter where women are.
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>> what i'm doing is legal where the laws i work from. i'm a doctor. my oath is that i help people that are in need, and that is what i'm doing. >> reporter: the states that are trying to stamp out abortion are writing all sorts of little lines in their law to try to attack this, going after websites, going after out of state providers, over foreign providers. they're doing everything they can. but jake, the proponents of abortion rights say this is someplace where they think they may have an edge. it may be hard for some women to figure out the websites, but once they do, they say what it's going to be is states trying to catch up with five little pills making their way to a woman they see as being a node. and think think will be impossible to enforce. >> here to discuss is mary ziegler, author of the upcoming book "dollars for life, the
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anti-abortion movement and the fall of the republican establishment." professor ziegler, thanks for joins us. what are some of the laws already on the books that might make it illegal to sell medication such as this, that induces abortion? >> well, there are already 19 states that ban telehealth abortion, which would be the through the mail scheme that tom was describing. if roe v. wade falls, as we expect after this leaked draft, we would expect up to 26 states to criminalize abortion outright, including abortion by pill. so that would mean not only there could be restrictions on use of these pills but outright bans. whether those bans would be easily enforceable raises a much more difficult question. >> with the laws that already exist ban medications such as the morning after pill, do you think lawmakers will try to outlaw everything? >> the definition of abortion has been historically contested.
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so when states got around to defining abortion, they try to make clear they're not banning contraceptives. but that's not a view held. there are people during the debate about the contraceptive mandate in obamacare that took the position that ieds or the morning after pill are steps in fertility treatment were all abortion inducing drugs. so i would expect to see a live debate about that in states as they ban abortion. i would expect to see more states being willing to define abortion expansively in a post rural america that we might see today. >> that happens, i'm not sure how familiar everybody is withp morning after pill, if that happened, were they to ban these pills, does that mean -- i mean, wouldn't contraception get caught up in that? >> absolutely, yeah. because the line between abortion and contraception has never been as undisputed and clear as we may think it is.
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in a world where abortion can be criminalized, that's going to become quick in a hurry. states may have both constitutional reasons, because there is constitutional precedent on the right to use contra contraceptions. they may think politically it's a bad idea to wade into regulating what some view as contraception. but we know from the contraceptive mandate, this is an issue which conservatives feel strongly. so there's no saying that states won't sweep in contraception as well as abortion. >> there are situation where is there is a medical problem with the fetus or it's in the wrong location for the body, forcing a woman to seek an abortion for a very wanted pregnancy. what do we know about the legality of that going forward? would those also be banned? >> yeah, most states don't have exceptions for really any scenario, other than the life of
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the pregnant person. even that is a narrow exception, because as young imagine, if you're a doctor facing a felony charge and the loss of your license and a serious period of imprisonment, and you're not sure if something is going to be criminal ly penalized or not, some doctors are likely to refuse care, because there will be a chilling effect of these criminal laws. the reasons are exceedingly rare. they don't include some of the kinds of cases you mentioned. i think some states are considering conditions and compatible with life or ectopic pregnancies as exceptions. other states are not, though. >> lawmakers in some states are adopting so-called abortion travel bans, which would make it illegal for someone to leave their state to get a legal abortion in a different state. is that even constitutional? >> the short answer is, we don't know. so there are questions this raises about the constitutional
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right to travel, which has an impeccable pedigree, as well as the clause that affects -- which regulates how states affect commerce in other states. but neither of those areas of the law is very well developed. we know we have a conservative supreme court that is skeptical of the idea of a right to choose abortion, but we have little guidance. if states do wade into this area, we're going to see a brand new round of the abortion wars, the eliminate of roe v. wade will be the end of one chapter, but the beginning of an equally messy chapter. >> mary ziegler, thanks so much for your expertise. coming up, deaths from covid could be three times more than previously thought. what is behind the new estimate, and are we at the start of a new deadly surge in the united states? stay with us. and d we'll comh a replacement you can trust. >> man: looks great. >> tech: that's service on your time. schedule now..
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in our new estimates on the staggering worldwide death toll caused by the covid pandemic, the world health organization is now estimating that nearly 15 million people died as a direct or indirect result of covid between january 1st, 2020 and december 31st, 2021. joining us now is dr. matthew. thank you for joining us. so the w.h.o. says there were 9.5 million excess mortality deaths during that time frame. help us understand the discrepancy with this reported number, what's going on here? >> yeah, so excess mortality is going to be an extremely
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important number for people like me, because what that really means is you take the number of deaths that happened during the pandemic and you subtract that from a year where the pandemic didn't exist. and those excess numbers can be attributed to covid-19. in fact, to be honest with you, i'm surprised that it's actually that low. i think that this number has been grossly underestimated because firstly, if you look at countries like india, where people were dying on the streets, couldn't get oxygen, people were dying in rural areas, none of those people have been included in that number. and i have close ties with nigeria where i was born and raised. look at africa. this continent i thought would have been hit really hard. but fortunately, even with low vaccination rates, their mortality rates are lower. so this number is going to be a very important number for us to understand. and here in the u.s., jake, i had a good number of my patients
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who were trying to make it to the e.r. for a heart attack and stroke but actually ended up dying in the ambulance because of covid surges. so they need to be included, as well in this overall excess mortality rate. >> let's talk about what's going on in the u.s. right now, because hospitalizations are up for the second straight week. the cdc says the number of hospitalizations and deaths are forecast to rise over the next four weeks. this is the first time the cdc has predicted an increase in deaths since february. why is this happening? how concerned is the public health community? >> i'm really concerned. i don't want to say i told you so, jake. but i've definitely been one of many that was really unhappy about lifting the mask mandates. i know a lot of people would say oh, hear goes dr. matthew again with the masks. if you look at how people live in this country. it's like the pandemic doesn't exist anymore. people are getting infected left
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and right, they're not testing. most people are getting tested at home. in georgia, the cases are not being reported consistently. so there's a lot of underestimation of the daily cases. when we say there's 50,000 per day, i think it's probably five or tenfold higher. and currently, there is a surge in most states. hospitalizations are ticking up. i was in an urgent care yesterday. talked to a p.a., and she saw 70 patients in ten hours. 30 of them were positive. and the people that are unvaccinated were sicker. but we still had a good number of people who were vaccinated and boosted, jake, that also tested positive for covid. >> dr. matthew, thank you so much. breaking news now out of israel, where there's been another terrorist attack. that's next. stay with us.
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get unbeatable business solutions from the most innovative company. get a great deal on this limited time price with internet and voice for just $49.99 a month for 24 months with a 2-year price guarantee. call today. fwraeking breaking news in . another deadly terrorist attack that has left in totality at least 18 israelis dead since march. the latest, three deaths happened today. in an attack north of jerusale. tell us what happened. >> reporter: well, jake, today is israel's independence day. this is a quiet, mostly orthodox town in central israel. around 8:30 p.m. tonight, two
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alleged attackers began attacking people on the street. police say they believe they used a rifle and possibly a knife and/or an ax. and then they fled in a vehicle. there's now a massive manhunt underway for these alleged attackers. we've been hearing police helicopters hovering above us since we got here. and there are police roadblocks on all of the roads leading into the city. there's a very, very heavy police and military presence. now, so far no one is -- no main militant or terrorist group is claiming credit, although hamas, the militant group that runs gaza, put out a statement praising the attack. >> and as we said, this is the late nest a series of terrorist attacks across israel and the west bank that started in march. >> reporter: yeah, jake. this is the sixth attack targeting israelis since late march. 18 people now dead, if you count the three people who were killed tonight. i should note that four people were injured in this attack. and it's been a sense and
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violent few months. israel stepped up their military operations in the west bank and those clashes led to at least two dozen palestinians being killed. we have seen clashes at the temple mount, a place so holy in jerusalem to jews and muslims. while many people were hoping that the end of ramadan would bring some calm to the situation, israeli officials said they were preparing for more violence, more tension, more deaths, because today is israeli independence day, and next week is the one-year anniversary of that 11-day war between hamas and the israeli army. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. on the run for almost a week. the new clues and the manhunt for the missing murder suspect and the corrections officer who took off with him. stay with us. event planning with our best plan ever. (manny) yeah, that's what i do. (vo) with 5g ulultra wideband in may more cities, you get t up to 10 times the spd at no extra cost. verizon is going ultra, so y yr business can get more.
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welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. it's been seven days since an alabama corrections officer was seen leaving jail with a capital murder suspect. o are investigators closer to tracking them down? and more questions than answers about what is happening on board a united states aircraft carrier where seven sailors have died. at least four by suicide in the past year. cnn talks to sailors who have been stationed on the troubled "uss george washington." and leading this hour, there's been a breach by russian
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forces at the steal plant in mariupol, where ukrainian forces have been resisting the russian advances for months. but the fate of the innocent civilians sheltering inside the plant, that remains unknown. and now as cnn's scott mcclain reports from lviv, united nations say another evacuation convoy is on the way to azovstal. [ motions ] >> reporter: this is the last bastion of ukrainian resistance in mariupol. the azovstal steel plant, under what a city official calls non-stop shelling and assault by russian forces. inside, an untold number of civilians are still trapped as the battle rages. the commander of ukrainian troops in the plant saying thursday, fierce combat is ongoing. after he says russian forces breached the compound's barrier. the commander begging for transport of the bodies of soldiers who died in weeks of violence at the complex. he pleads for more evacuation of
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civilians trapped inside. the united nations says it's hard to know exactly how many remain, but they are trying to send help. >> the convoy is proceeding to get to azovstal by tomorrow morning. hopefully, to receive those civilians remaining in that bleak hell that they have inhabited for so many weeks and months and taken back to safety. >> reporter: on thursday, putin promised for safe passage for civilians out of mariupol, and the kremlin denied an assault on azovstal. but as russian forces besiege the city, ukrainian troops say it's a final holdout for mariupol's last defenders as the enemy closes in. a bitter fight for a city that's vital for putin's war effort in ukraine. full control over mariupol completes a russian controlled land corridor between its mainland and russian controlled crimea. it also means russian access